I can often have trouble knowing how I should read my Bible. What should I take away from a certain passage? And what could God be telling me through a verse?
A few weeks ago, I came across two different really good ways of determining what a passage of Scripture means. Today I’ll share the first one, which I like to call the “Question Method”, with you and I’ll share the second one another day. Most of these questions were originally by Massimo Lorenzini, but I’ve revised them to fit with my system.
Begin your Bible-reading with Prayer
I’ll admit, this is one of the things that I forget to do the most. But nothing that you do while reading your Bible will be very profitable if you do not ask God Himself for guidance while you read. You could ask Him to open your eyes to understand His word more or could even talk to Him about something that has nothing to do with your reading. But just spending time with Him every day before reading the Bible is really helpful.
As you read the chapter ask yourself the five W’s and an H: Who? (Who is involved? Who is speaking? Who is acting?) What? (What took place? What sin is presented that I should forsake? What command is given that I should obey? Or what is God teaching me in this passage), Where? (Where did the event take place), When? (When did the event take place), Why? (Why did this event take place), How? (How did the event occur? How do I put the lesson into practice?
I do not actually use all of the questions every day, and sometimes I don’t even have to write the answers down for the ones that I do ask. The main idea is just to use these questions to analyze the Bible more thoroughly, since I have found that asking questions can help me understand God’s Word better.
For example, for Genesis 1 I write something like this in my Bible journal:
Who is involved?
God and Adam
Who is speaking? And acting?
When does this event take place? And where?
In the beginning; everywhere
What took place?
God created the earth: first He made the earth, then light (the first day), then Heaven (the second day), then dry land and the seas (the third day), then the sun, moon, and stars (the fourth day), then the sea creatures and flying creatures (the fifth day), then all the animals, then Adam, the first man, (the sixth day). He gave Adam the earth and then rested on the seventh day.
What does God teach us through the passage?
That He made everything and that we should worship Him because of that.
Here are some more questions that you could use when studying the Gospels:
- Is the passage about Jesus’ life or His teaching? Give the essential details of the events.
- Who were His friends? Who were His enemies? Why were they opposed to Him?
- How did the person or people respond to Jesus?
- What other passages tell the same story (you may recall it told in another Gospel)? What other details do they include?
- Did you learn anything about His deity in this passage?
- Everything Jesus did expressed the nature and attitude of God. What did you learn about God in this passage?
- What principles did He teach?
- Does He quote the Old Testament?
- What does Jesus condemn and why?
- What good qualities does He encourage?
- What is the basic principle He is teaching?
- How can I apply these teachings to my life?
- Does this passage include a parable? If so, include a brief summary. What circumstances led up to this parable? What interpretation does Jesus give of the parable? Where is this parable told elsewhere in the Bible? Is there something you could apply to your life from this parable?
Again, I don’t recommend using all of the questions for just one passage, but using just a few can really help you to think through a passage more fully.
Well, I hope that asking these questions can help to you understand God’s word better!